Attempted murder survivor feels harassed by Rowlett, asks Mayor for help
ROWLETT – Domestic violence victim and attempted murder survivor Veronica Galaviz was almost killed two and a half years ago by her estranged husband when he broke into her home near Midnight in the Waterview subdivision.
Armed with a shotgun, he attempted to kill her but, after a she managed to escape, he took his own life while burning down her house, taking away all of her earthly belongings, including her pet cats and dog.
Although she has had the remains cleaned up on the lot she owns and has been trying to sell for over two years (shown above), she says the City of Rowlett Code Enforcement department has continuously harassed her with notices and fines for violations of long grass and charred wood.
Now, in desperation, she has reached out on Facebook to the City’s Mayor, Todd Gottel, and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Michael Gallops, pleading for help.
“The city has been harassing me with notices of violation for the grass and some charred wood,” she wrote. “They do not send information to the appropriate address, they do not call me and they do not listen to me when I tell them people are taking care of the lot.”
“There have been times when they go out there and the city has already mowed. Then by the time I hear of anything, I have a $200 bill popping up again with no notice before hand (I’ve dealt with 2 liens on this property),” she added.
“I even went over there in person to straighten this out, but apparently it didn’t do any good. They just slapped pictures of my lot and slapped code on the table. (Were not very nice.) I told them I also had pictures and code (my protective order) and they did nothing, nothing to help me. Now they are all worried about a little grass and charred wood (which by the way was fixed months ago so now it’s just a little grass)?”
“(I am) Calling out to the Mayor of Rowlett, Todd Gottel, and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem, Michael Gallops, to help me with the City of Rowlett. I lived in Rowlett for 5 years in the Waterview subdivision before my estranged deceased husband violently burned it down.”
Galaviz added this isn’t the first time she’s been frustrated by the City of Rowlett. She wrote on Facebook that she couldn’t get the protection she needed either from Rowlett Police before the fire.
“For 9 months, I tried to get help from the Rowlett Police who had videos, eye witnesses, phone records, and a protective order, but nothing was ever enough evidence for them to stop my abusive estranged husband from stalking me or harassing me, continuing his mental and emotional abuse – even after I had filed for divorce and had a protective order – who eventually broke into my home and tried to kill me with a shotgun and then proceeded to set my home on fire, taking away everything in my life as I knew it.”
She wrote that there must be more important things for the City to do than harass her with fines and liens.
“For over the last 2 1/2 years, I have been trying to heal and move forward with my life. I’ve even set up a charity to help other victims, spoken at several City Domestic Violence trainings for Dallas and Groesbeck, at women’s shelters, and met with legislature to try and strengthen victims’ rights.”
“Despite my efforts to sell the lot where my house stood and even trying to give it away, I have not had any success. Now the city is all worried about a little bit of grass and some charred wood. I’m sorry, but I think there are much more important things going on in the City then to harass me with fines and liens.”
“I feel like now instead of my estranged deceased husband harassing me, the City of Rowlett is now harassing me. I feel like the city continues with making no effort to help me.”
She concluded with a complaint that the value of her land has also been raised.
“Oh and with all this, the City has raised my land value to $50K in 2012 in a housing market that does not justify this other than to make me pay for higher property taxes. I already paid a full year of taxes when I only had a house on the property for 3 and 1/2 months for 2010.”
“Would you please, please help me,” she pleaded. “I need someone in Rowlett to help me and not cause any more relapses in my healing process.”
Gottel and Gallops each responded the same day (July 19) on Facebook to Galaviz, saying they are anxious to help her solve these problems.
“Veronica, I sent you a message and left a message for the Lt. over our Neighbor Services Division,” replied Gottel. “I told him you will be calling. Additionally, Michael (Gallops) and I have both spoken with (Rowlett City Manager) Lynda (Humble) and will get the details on these violations.”
“Veronica, I am looking into the status of any fines against your property for code violations and will get back to you when I get an answer,” wrote Gallops, on Facebook. “It may take a few days. I’m also looking into the property value issue you mentioned. Property values aren’t determined by the City – they are done by the Dallas County Appraisal District (DCAD). Taxes, including school (the majority of your tax bill), county, city, etc., are then determined at a fixed rate that applies to all property owners. The appraisal that DCAD does can be disputed with them – they have a process for doing that and I’m looking into that as well. Once we determine the process, I’ll get back with you on that, as well, and will do what I can to help get your property correctly appraised.”
On July 20, Gallops added:
“Veronica, Todd and I have spoken to our Neighborhood Services Division Lt. and the City Manager. Rather than post the history and information we obtained on here, Todd and I would like to meet with you in person along with the CM and Lt. to discuss and get everything straightened out. Can you give one of us a call so we can arrange a time?”
On July 26, Gottel added:
“Veronica, I wanted to follow up with you. I have not heard back from you. Please let me know your availability to review the history on your property as it relates to code enforcement in Rowlett. I can arrange a meeting (or call) with the person over Neighborhood Services. Michael Gallops would like to join us as well. Please call me at 972-463-6333. Thanks!
Galaviz replied with, “Yes, please respond on the private messages I already sent you. Once this is resolved, I’ll let the public know the outcome. Thanks!”
Galaviz messaged TheRockwallNews.com that she is expecting to meet with City officials soon and will share the outcome.
As a result of her experiences, Galaviz has established the “Living to Share” non-profit organization, to tell her story of abuse & explain her mission to make a difference.
“People who have endured/enduring abuse understand when I say I’m spent…I’ve had to deal with so much over these last few years, I pray to God that because of my experience and once I pull out all these lingering thorns that are keeping me from healing, I will be able to push forward with my conviction to increase awareness, strengthen victims’ rights and help put an end domestic violence!” she wrote.
“This happened to me…it’s a significant part of who I am and without embracing what happened, I could never be whole. I think of myself as the survivor that is speaking out and the strength & voice for the victims and bystanders who can’t.”
Galaviz can be contacted through her website at www.LivingToShare.org.
By J.J. Smith, Publisher